One of the great things about planning ahead for your holiday shopping is that you have plenty of time to find the perfect gifts at the best prices. You can keep an eye on your list throughout the year and spring for the purchase when the price is right.
The first part of creating any budget is making a list of what you need to buy. The holidays are great times to gather gift ideas for your nearest and dearest because you can see what they get that they really like and take notes for future gift giving. Don't forget to include people like your babysitters and teachers, and it's not a bad idea to have a couple generic gifts on hand for last minute occasions.
As far as the saving money part goes, the first place you should start is your wallet. You know all of those unused or partially used gift cards? These are great for boosting your budget and saving on your bottom line. Credit card rewards points are also great to use if you want to save some of that hard-earned cash. Subscribe to daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social, where you can get great merchandise and services for half the cost. On the heels of daily deals are flash sale sites, like Totsy, where you can buy items on the cheap for a limited time.
Look through the circulars and store ads that you get in the mail for coupons. With the economy still on the rise, many big box stores have regular coupon offerings throughout the year. If you're mainly an Internet shopper, always be on the lookout for free shipping deals that accompany sales. That will save you 10 to 20 percent right off the bat.